Sylvie van Helden
#devote#purify#purify, detail#obsess#obsess, detail#obsess#purify and #devote #purify (left) and #devote#humblespirits
The Hashtag Mandalas investigate how people define their experiences on the social media site Instagram. My multilayered collaged paintings cull images sourced from hashtag searches on Instagram and combine them into the formal structure of a Mandala, a symbol representing the universe in Hinduism and Buddhism. My hashtag searches yielded a plethora of responses, with some terms generating as many as 60,000+ images. Because of this, I decided to set parameters for my work and chose twelve source images for each piece, with each image repeated into the symmetrical design of the Mandala from 4-32 times.

Mandalas function not only as representations of the world at large, but as tools for spiritual guidance. As meditation aids, they are points on which to focus attention. My work aims to open a window into the immediacy and pervasiveness of social media as a form of communication and documentation, whereby religious notions like devotion and purification have taken on new meanings.